Sabah PKR voter says has to travel 220km to vote due to ‘technical problems’

Peter (left) and Mariam (right) allege there are major problems in Pensiangan PKR.

KOTA KINABALU: A PKR member from Pensiangan, about 220 kilometres from here, claimed he is among more than 300 PKR members from two villages in the Pensiangan PKR division who were shocked to learn they will be voting in other divisions this weekend.

Erom Peter, 25, who will be voting for the first time, said he had always assumed he would be voting in Pensiangan but was dismayed to find out he would be voting in the Kota Kinabalu division instead.

“I have never lived or worked in Kota Kinabalu. My address in my identity card is in Pensiangan. When I registered to become a member, I was in Pensiangan. So, I don’t understand why I have to vote in Kota Kinabalu,” he said.

Peter said he only found out about it after a PKR member contacted his friend to say all transportation and accommodation had been arranged for Peter and a few others.

The person also sent photos of hotel rooms and told them the bus transporting them to Kota Kinabalu would leave on Nov 1.

“I have never applied to change my voting centre. Even worse, I don’t know any of the candidates in the Kota Kinabalu division. So, how can I vote for them? I know only the national candidates and those in my division,” he said.

He claimed there were many others like him, mostly youths and first-time voters, in his village and a neighbouring village who would be voting outside of their division, including in Keningau and Tenom.

Another PKR member, Mariam Pengiran, claimed her two sons, who only registered to be PKR members late last month, found out they were eligible to vote.

While she was happy for them, she was concerned because she was told the final date to register to be eligible for the election was June 29 this year.

“We checked the date of their registration online and it was recorded as June 26 for one son and June 27 for the other. But I remember I only sent the forms in September, I can’t remember the date though.

“It means their dates of registration have been tampered with to allow them to vote. Their names are not in the electoral book but they exist online,” she said.

Both the sons who were registered would not be voting in Pensiangan as their voting centre is in Keningau, another issue that irks Mariam.

When contacted, former Pensiangan PKR chief Raymond Ahuar said he was aware of the problem facing some PKR members who have to vote somewhere else but said it was too late to change now.

“The party secretary Saifuddin Nasution had already said those with such problems should write letters to the party to fix it as soon as possible. Unfortunately, not everybody heeded the advice.

“Since it is now too late to change anything, we have to make do with what we have. As much as I can, I will try to help those who need transportation and accommodation,” he told FMT.

Ahuar said the “technical problem” was due to the system as there were also cases where members in Kota Kinabalu had been registered to vote in the east coast.

However, he was not sure about the problem faced by Mariam as he said all registration for the election had been suspended after June 29.

A total of 145,639 Sabah PKR members will vote on Nov 3 and 4 to choose leaders in 26 divisions, as well as the deputy president where Mohamed Azmin Ali and Rafizi Ramli are facing off.